David Brooks leads us astray in the health care debate in his 11/26 column. I disagree with his claim that the choice is between the values of “vitality and security”. He thinks that if we pass this reform “America would be a less youthful, ragged and unforgiving nation, and a more middle-aged, civilized and sedate one.”
But is that what is at stake here? Do Canadians, Swedes, French lack vitality because they are well cared for? These countries share the following: 1) they cover every citizen, 2) their health results are better than ours, 3) they do this for far less than we spend per person, and 4) their citizens overwhelmingly like their health care systems.
I think the real issue is whether we allow a predator, the for-profit health insurance industry, to prevent us from having a decent health care system. We would have more vitality as well as security if we were healthier and didn’t have to waste our energy fighting and worrying about an industry that should be eliminated.
The current bill is probably worse than no bill. If corporations would permit our money-driven political system to consider real health reform (as it exists in basically every other industrial country in the world), we could then have the discussion between the values of vitality and security, a discussion that is irrelevant at this time.